Saga, Vol. 9 (Saga, #9) by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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Vol. 1 ★★★★
Vol. 2 ★★★★
Vol. 3 ★★★★★
Vol. 4 ★★★★
Vol. 5 ★★★★★
Vol. 6 ★★★★★
Vol. 7 ★★★★★
Vol. 8 ★★★★

“War can’t be ended any more than the rain.”

This is for sure the most emotionally driven volume of Saga yet, which is really saying something considering everything that has happened over the course of all of these issues. I can’t help being invested with each and every character, but this volume just hurts. Especially not knowing when Volume 10 will be released because the creators are taking a break. But this addition to the story was a masterpiece, a painful masterpiece, but a masterpiece nonetheless.

I’ve always said that it is completely genius to have this story be told with Hazel as the narrator, and Volume 9 really showcases that. Just seeing this baby, this toddler, this little girl, be forced to grow up in a world where hatred is bred. While also always being forced to live on the run, while being forced to grow up faster than anyone in the galaxy, while realizing that no one you love is ever safe. My heart breaks for Hazel and heals for Hazel every single page. And I truly think she is one of the best protagonists, of any story, of all time.

As always, Saga is a dark story that has very adult, NSFW content! So, please use caution! Content and trigger warnings for slavery, fatphobic comments, death, murder, talk of past child abuse, and sexual content.

As always, I’m now going to break down each chapter (single issue) in this bind-up. I mostly do this so I can go back and refresh what has happened in which specific issue. There will be SPOILERS, so please do not continue if you have not read this graphic-novel or the ones leading up to this volume!

“It takes someone you love to break your heart.”

CHAPTER 49
Ianthe has The Will and has forced him into slavery, while looking for Hazel. Petrichor and Prince Robot are officially a thing, and it’s the best. We get to see Upsher and Doff again, and they are still working on news stories, even off the grid with the gang. They are all on Jetsam, which what appears to be a planet with an abandoned amusement park. And Ghüs is the new babysitter.

CHAPTER 50
Oh boy, sexy times! Ianthe makes “The Help” kill. Squire, Prince Robot’s son, doesn’t want a new body or to leave with Petri and Prince Robot, after they tell their story.

CHAPTER 51
Marko is writing a secret book, that I’m sure is going to have a profound impact in the next volume. Doff is killed, but The Will is finally free, even if all he can see is rage and vengeance for The Stalk.

CHAPTER 52
Squire runs away, but soon runs into Ianthe. Meanwhile, Prince Robot and The Will meet up.

CHAPTER 53
Everyone is dying, The Will appears to have killed Prince Robot. Ianthe is hurt, but Alana is shot. Everything is falling apart.

CHAPTER 54
Marko and the Will have a fight scene to top all other fight scenes. And at the end, it appears that Marko dies. Friends, I don’t even have words. Only tears.

“At least I get to grow old.”

I truly believe that Saga is truly a once in a lifetime series, and this last installment has really left me speechless. This is just such a profound staple in not only graphic novels, but in the entire reading community. There is a reason so many people love this series, and it really proves over and over that no one is safe, nothing is safe, but the story always gets better and better. Okay, I’m off to go cry some more.

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Saga, Vol. 8 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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Vol. 1 ★★★★
Vol. 2 ★★★★
Vol. 3 ★★★★★
Vol. 4 ★★★★
Vol. 5 ★★★★★
Vol. 6 ★★★★★
Vol. 7 ★★★★★

“In the beginning, there was Landfall and there was Wreath.”

This ended up being such a heartwarming volume, after bawling my eyes out after Vol. 7. The start of this was for sure still a tearjerker, but Saga truly will make you feel every emotion possible. This series continues to prove that it is a tier above so many out there, and I truly hope it never ends.

I just feel like this Romeo and Juliet story is done so well, that I’m actual at a loss for words. I know we are eight volumes in, but I care so deeply for all of these characters and side characters that it just continues to astound me. They all deserve the literal galaxy and all the stars within it, but every volume the risks and stakes just continue to get increased. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have really just created something so amazing and inspiring that I am left in awe after almost every page.

I will say that this volume heavily talks about how people should choose what they want to do with their body, regardless of what anyone else chooses to believe for their bodies. This bind-up is really prochoice, which is also something that I’m very passionate about, and seeing it portrayed in a graphic novel is something I really wasn’t expecting, but I loved it with my whole heart. But content and trigger warnings for talk of miscarrying, talk of stillbirths, talk of abortion, violence, child abuse, depictions of trauma, depictions of PTSD, and graphic sexual content. Saga is always a bit of a darker graphic novel, so please use caution if any of these things could be triggering to you.

As always, I’m now going to break down each chapter (single issue) in this bind-up. I mostly do this so I can go back and refresh what has happened in which specific issue. There will be SPOILERS, so please do not continue if you have not read this graphic-novel or the ones leading up to this volume!

CHAPTER 43
Marko, Alana, Hazel, Petri, and Prince Robot land on Pervious to remove the baby that Alana is still carrying after the terrible events of Vol. 7. Petri talks a bit more about being a transwoman, and we see Alana has developed some new powers!

CHAPTER 44
Alana is also struggling with everything that happened to her in such a short time, and she is beginning to see the son she should have had. And we are introduced to some new bad guys.

CHAPTER 45
Alana’s new powers are allowing her to project the son she wishes she had, and Hazel is becoming attached. But using this new ability is hurting Alana more and more, until Hazel has to learn a new power to save her. Meanwhile, those new bad guys are attempting to kill Petri, but Prince Robot saves her.

CHAPTER 46
We learn that Prince Robot is genderfluid and we get to see a little bit of a romance brewing between them and Petri. Marko, Alana, and Hazel meet Endwife, who takes care of women who are too far along in their pregnancies for help elsewhere. And Endwife gives Marko a small glimpse of why being prochoice is so important.

CHAPTER 47
Ianthe currently has The Will captured and has him hooked up to a machine that allows them both to view his memories. We see him and Sophie growing up with an abusive father, and how their uncle, The Letter, came and took them away. We get to see him and The Stalk starting their romance, too, but soon Ianthe becomes aware of who Hazel is and who her mother and father are.

CHAPTER 48
We are finally reintroduced to my favorite character, Ghüs, and the rest of their friends that have been stranded while waiting for Marko and Alana. Squire, Prince Robot’s son, has gotten a lot bigger, and is getting more and more adventurous. But they are soon reunited when the crew comes back with much needed food for the gang. And we get to see Squire and Hazel start a beautiful friendship. Oh, and Hazel can finally fly!

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Saga, Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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Vol. 1 ★★★★
Vol. 2 ★★★★
Vol. 3 ★★★★★
Vol. 4 ★★★★
Vol. 5 ★★★★★
Vol. 6 ★★★★★

“Nothing in the universe was safe from the endless war between mom’s planet and dad’s moon…”

This seventh installment is truly a masterpiece, and one of the most impactful graphic novels I’ve ever read. The ending of this is true and utter perfection, and the emotional range that Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples are able to evoke is truly something I don’t have words for. This but seventh volume truly shows why Saga is one of the best graphic works in existence.

And this volume really talks about heaven and hell and believing and not knowing. All six issues really have the theme of what if there is something better after this life? What if there is something worse? What if there is nothing at all? And we get to see so many people live their lives feeling very differently on the spectrum, while also seeing it shape their lives entirely.

We get to see some amazing new characters in this, but we also are forced to say goodbye to many. All the volumes in this world can get pretty dark, but this one especially has some major content and trigger warnings for sexual content, violence, attempted suicide, death, murder, an animal death, talk of miscarrying, and war themes. Please use caution going into this bind-up.

And it feels extra heartbreaking because you only want the best for these characters, after seeing them go through such horrific things for the last six volumes, all because two people, from two different races, decided to fall in love.

As always, I’m now going to break down each chapter (single issue) in this bind-up. I mostly do this so I can go back and refresh what has happened in which specific issue. There will be SPOILERS, so please do not continue if you have not read this graphic-novel or the ones leading up to this volume!

CHAPTER 37
We get to see Alana (who is very pregnant), Marko, Hazel, Izabel, Petri, and Sir Robot all together on their latest ship. But they desperately need to refuel, so they go to a new place called Phang, where they meet Jabarah, Kurti, and their whole big family! We also get to see Gwendolyn, Lying Cat, and Sophie (who is ten now), on a new adventure together!

CHAPTER 38
Hazel and the family end up staying for six months on Phang! And they become very close with Jabarah, Kurti, and their family! We get to see The Will meet up with Velour (Gwendolyn’s wife), because he is trying to track her down. And we get to see a new villain, The March, who is a two headed alien, who kills Izabel and I’m forever crying.

CHAPTER 39
The Will is fired from his freelancing job and is just doing worse and worse mental health wise. Hazel and everyone else are trying to deal with the loss of Izabel. And this volume really starts the questions about an afterlife, and what people are willing to do in the name of it.

CHAPTER 40
Gwen is selling or trading a very mysterious box that is going to do very bad things. Prince Robot is spiraling worse and worse, and finds some drugs that helps remind him of everything he as lost, and he makes some really poor choices.

CHAPTER 41
Phang is going to crash into a timesuck, so Marko and Alana are desperately trying to get everyone together leave. The Will meets up with Sophie and the gang, and gives her the choice to come with him. Sophie stays with Gwendolyn, and Lying Cat doesn’t want to leave Sophie, so she stays, too.

CHAPTER 42
Marko shoots a weapon, but it’s going to really impact him down the road, but there was no other choice. The Will’s dog dies, and I was not prepared. And then Jabarah decides to keep her family on a dying thing because she has faith in a higher power. So, Hazel and the gang are forced to leave, but they lose so very much.

Again, this entire volume is about faith and believing and loss and how each person will live their lives differently surrounding those three things. The last pages of this? They broke me. I had tears streaming down my face as those heartbreaking black pages. Again, the emotions this story is able to evoke from me is something I will never have words for. But I love these characters, this art, and this beautiful story with my entire existence.

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Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson

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“You get to choose who you are. Legacy, memories of the past, can serve us well. But we cannot let them define us. When heritage becomes a box instead of an inspiration, it has gone too far.”

Skyward is the start of a brand-new YA Sci-Fi series by Brandon Sanderson. You all know that I love Brandon Sanderson’s work, especially The Stormlight Archive and Mistborn, and I knew I couldn’t let this new release pass me by without immediately reading. And, friends, this was nothing short of a treat.

This book follows a young girl named Spensa, who wants nothing more than to follow in her father’s footsteps of being a space pilot and defending her home planet from an alien race called the Krell, who are relentless in their attacking. Unfortunately, her father did something unforgivable and the rest of her community truly will never forget.

“People need stories, child. They bring us hope, and that hope is real.”

Spensa lives in future version of our galaxy, on a planet named Detritus. But most of the inhabitants live underground, while only a few cities are above. And in this society people’s job positions are supposed to be based off their test scores that will influence them into learning their strengths, but we soon find out that pilots are mostly found based on their family lineage.

Brandon Sanderson really talks about privilege and how outside forces can really impact a person’s life, while a last name can completely make someone’s future. Spensa learns this very quickly, but she is still determined to not only go to flight school, but to graduate at the top of her class, regardless of the people who are willing to do anything to stop her.

And Spensa has to go through some really horrible stuff. No spoilers, but even her family is forced to live off of rats, while never being able to see the sky, but living in fear of a lifetime war that never ceases. But Spensa’s determination is awe-inspiring, but she soon realizes that flight school is completely ruthless and very deadly.

“It turns out that strange little girls grow up to be strange young women.”

Yet, one of the best characters I’ve read all year is easily Spensa. She not only makes you feel immense empathy because of her situation, but just because she’s a little girl that has only known war. She’s passionate, she’s caring, she’s so very dedicated. And she’s hilariously funny. This book made me laugh out loud so many times. But mostly, I was rooting for her from the first to the last page. And she really showcases that everyone has a choice, regardless of the things that life has forced upon them, and regardless of the mistakes of their parents. She was such a wonderful character, and a shining light in 2018’s protagonists.

And I loved the constant discussion of what makes a coward and what makes a hero. And about all those grey areas in between those things. And how a different view can really turn those two titles upside down completely. Spensa also meets many new colleagues, some of which who are also chasing the same dream as her, and some who have had it forced upon them. And dare I say, there is a start of an enemies to lovers relationship in this book? Lord, help me. I am already invested!

But my heart truly belongs to M-Bot, the AI-driven ship that Spensa finds. A lot of people have compared this book to How To Train Your Dragon and that is so damn accurate, but I actually think I loved M-Bot even more than Toothless. (And that is quite the recommendation, friends!) I also think I just have a soft spot in my heart for sentient ships, if I’m being completely honest. But I have no doubts that if you pick up this book that you will fall in love with M-Bot, too.

Okay, so even though I loved this reading experience so much, and I truly think Brandon Sanderson comes up with the best worlds in SFF, two things bothered me about this book. One is a character death, and I won’t go into spoilers, but if you know me at all, you’ll know why this upset me. And Brandon should have done better. Secondly, the ending was a masterpiece. Yeah, you read that right. The ending was magnificent, but it truly overshadowed the rest of the book and made it feel like the 500 pages I just read were some precursor to the actual story that will begin in book two.

“Claim the stars, Spensa.”

Overall, I did adore this book. It was just what I needed. I actually was feeling really slumpy before I picked this up, and not only did it rectify that, but it reminded me why I love books and stories and fictional worlds so much. I know Brandon Sanderson isn’t for everyone, but he truly is a master at his craft and every book and series he touches turns to gold. And his world-building is honestly on a tier above all else in the genre. And, again, I cannot wait for book two. And I cannot wait to learn everything about a certain blue and orange slug.

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Content and trigger warnings for bullying, loss of a loved one, battle scenes, and war themes.

The Book of Etta (The Road to Nowhere #2) by Meg Elison

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ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

1.) The Book of the Unnamed Midwife ★★★★★

“The Unnamed Midwife had been a founder in Nowhere. She had been from the old world, a trained nurse and Midwife who had lived through the dying and seen how it all came down. She had left behind her journals, which told the whole story—her own as well as the world’s. It was known by every man, woman, and child in Nowhere. They kept their own journals as a way to carry on her work.”

I read over one-hundred books in 2016, but the predecessor to this book, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, was my favorite of them all. And even though that’s one of the most powerful books I’ve still ever read in my entire life, it’s also one of the heaviest books I’ve ever read. So, I’ve been putting off this second installment for far too long. But, friends, I finally picked it up and I’m so happy that I did. But again, as much as this book was also powerful, it’s also so very heartbreaking.

In The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, 98% of Earth’s population of men and 99% of Earth’s population of women have died from an autoimmune disease. Even though most of the Earth’s population was wiped out, the ratio of men to women is immense. And even in the future from the initial outbreak, women are still the most sought-after thing. In this second installment, the timeline is many generations in the future (approximately one-hundred-years), but we get to the community that the unnamed midwife helped build. This current community has adapted so many of the things that we saw in The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, and we get to see that not a lot has changed in this post-apocalyptic world.

“I’m Eddy on the road, and I’m Etta at home. I’m both.”

And we follow Etta when she is with her community, Nowhere, and we follow Eddy when he is scavenging outside of his community. I am going to use they/them pronouns for the rest of this review, but I believe our main character is nonbinary and genderfluid, even though those words are never used on page. This entire book really puts gender at the front of this story, because Etta/Eddy doesn’t want to be what is expected of a woman in this world. They don’t want to become a mother, they don’t want to raise children, and they do not want to deliver babies. They want to hunt, and forage, and rescue girls that aren’t even given a choice in this new and cruel world. Also, Etta/Eddy is black and also sees how racism hasn’t ceased, even with the world almost ending.

“Boys can be anything. Girls can only be one thing.”

We also are introduced to a transwoman in this book who becomes such a pivotal character. Flora completely made my heart break in this book, but she was also such a bright beacon of hope. She honestly deserves the entire world, and she better be given it in the final book, The Book of Flora.

But we get to see Etta/Eddy travel to different communities from their own and see how the different groups and people live and prosper. Some treat women lower than currency, some treat them like mystical saints, but we get to see all the in-betweens, too. Etta/Eddy meets Flora rather quickly, and they soon travel together to the worst city Etta/Eddy may have seen yet. When they reach the stronghold of the Lion, they aren’t entirely sure what to expect. But even their nightmares wouldn’t prepare them for what this tyrant ruler is truly like.

This is a very dark and heavy book. Please use caution before reading and make sure you are in a safe headspace. Major content and trigger warnings for rape, sexual assault, genital mutilation, pedophilia, sex trafficking, slavery, murder, death, loss of a loved one, miscarrying, torture, misgendering, racist comments, misogynistic comments, abduction, captivity, violence, animal death, and war themes.

“On the map, all the roads led to Estiel.”

Overall, Meg Elison writes the queer, feminist, inclusionary literature of my heart. This book is important, and powerful, and empowering. It’s hard, and brutal, and heartbreaking, but I promise it is so rewarding. The reason I am giving it four stars is because the ending felt rushed to me. And even though I loved this entire ending with the soul of my being, it just happened in the blink of an eye. Yet, I am so excited to see where the next book picks up, because I am sort of obsessed with their location! But friends, if you are in the right headspace, please give The Book of the Unnamed Midwife a try. It’s truly a masterpiece, and this entire series means more to me than I have words for.


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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Buddy read with Jules at JA Ironside! ❤

 

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers

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“The truth is, Rosemary, that you are capable of anything. Good or bad. You always have been, and you always will be. Given the right push, you, too, could do horrible things. That darkness exists within all of us.”

This is the kind of book that makes you remember why you fell in love with reading. This is the kind of book that feels so powerful you can’t believe it exists. This is the kind of book that sets your very soul on fire and makes you want to do better. This is the kind of book that instills a hope so great that you feel like you could make a difference. This is the kind of book that you won’t be the same after finishing.

I recommend this book to every single person in this entire galaxy and to whatever else is out there and still unknown.

Also, please know that there is no semblance of a review that I could write that would do this book even a percent of justice or let you know even an ounce of how much it impacted me. But I’m going to try my best, because this book deserves nothing less.

I suppose the easy thing to say is that this book is about a crew, traveling through space on the Wayfarer, exploring the galaxy and taking on new adventures. And a new crewmember has just arrived, not knowing what to expect.

“They were reminders of what a fragile thing it was to be alive.”

(Beautiful fanart of the crew by SebasP!) 💗

Rosemary – A human who has just left her home planet to join the crew on the Wayfarer.

Sissix – An Aandrisk and pilot of the Wayfarer. One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read in my entire life was seeing Rosemary learn about Sissix’s hatch family, feather family, and house family. Seriously, it’s so beautiful that I don’t even have words. Sissix not only beautifully gave me a polyamorous story line, but also the f/f romance of my dreams.

Ashby – The captain of the Wayfarer. My soft and strong boy. Nothing but all the love and respect in the entire world for my captain.

Jenks – A technician on the Wayfarer. I will say I think the moment I fell in love with this book was when Jenks asked Lovey, “What kind of body do you want to have?” One of my biggest pet peeves in all of literature is when authors give AIs genders. And seeing Lovey decide what she wanted to be… friends, I don’t have words for how beautiful it is. You all know that I’m pansexual, so maybe I’m stretching here, but I think Jenks is my new pansexual hero, by the way.

Lovey – The AI of the Wayfarer. My heart, my soul, my everything. Becky Chambers is seriously an expert word weaver to make me feel all the things that I feel for Lovey.

Dr. Chef – A Grum and the most amazing doctor and chef upon the Wayfarer. A highlight in this perfect book was seeing Dr. Chef become Dr. Chef and everything that had to do with Grums. Again, so beautiful and I would happily trade lessons for his soup, too.

“You Humans really do cripple yourselves with your belief that you all think in unique ways.”

Corbin – Human and algaeist on the Wayfarer. Likes to be alone, and that’s okay.

Ohan – Sianat Pair and the navigator of the Wayfarer. They help Sissix and keep to themselves for the most part. But the end of this story really blew me away involving them.

Kizzy – A technician on the Wayfarer. Never, have I ever, read a character that I felt I was personally more like than Kizzy Shao. From her being so talkative, to always trying to be cheerful and positive, to her playing dating sims and loving all food, especially all things spicy, to her loving so unconditionally. I will never answer another bookish question of “what character are you most like” with bits and pieces from other books, because I truly see all of myself in Kizzy. Oh, and her being Asian warms my damn heart, too.

Friends, I have never fallen in love with fictional character the way that I fell in love with all the members on the Wayfarer.

“Time could crawl, it could fly, it could amble. Time was a slippery thing.”

(Beautiful fanart of Rosemary, Kizzy, and Jenks by Izzi Ward!) 💗

One of my favorite things in all of literature is reading about found families and having that be a pivotal aspect to a story. Friends, I feel bad praising any other book before this one, because this is the found family of my soul. I have never read a book with a better found family in my entire life, and I don’t think I ever will.

This book also emphasizes the importance of respect; respecting peoples’ pronouns, peoples’ bodies, and peoples’ feelings. And the representation in this book is honestly unparalleled. From different species, to different races, to different genders, to different sexualities, to different mental health issues, to different bodies types, to different upbringings, to different cultures, to different traditions, to different religions, to different social settings, to so much more.

This book touches upon gun control, and how no amount of weapons will ever make a person feel safe. How filling a home with devices meant to kill will never make a person feel more safe. I live in the United States, so I see people constantly going back and forth about gun control every single day, but I will never put more value on a soulless piece of metal over a piece of an actual person. And that’s the hill I’ll maybe die on because firearm assaults kill about 13,000 Americans each year.

This book also tackles colonialism, xenophobia, and racism at the forefront of this story. And how just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t mean that way is wrong or less. And how taking over and forcing your ways and your beliefs on anyone else will never be the right way.

“People can do terrible things when they feel safe and powerful.”

Yet, again, this book also leaves you feeling so much hope. And it reiterates how we are not to be blamed for the mistakes and wars that our parents started. How each one of us can make a difference, and truly lead a better and kinder future for the next generation.

Overall, I think it’s pretty obvious that I loved this with my heart, my soul, and the sum of my being. I will say that this is a very character driven story, and I know that’s not for everyone, but if you connect with these characters even a fraction of the amount that I did, you are going to love this book, too. Becky Chambers has created something so unique, so special, and so thought provoking. This is a very quiet book, but it speaks so loudly. This crew, these words, this book, they all mean more to me than I can express. Never have I closed a book and felt such an extreme feeling of hope before.

“…All any of us can do – is work to be something positive instead. That is a choice that every sapient must make every day of their life. The universe is what we make of it. It’s up to you to decide what part you will play.”

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Content and trigger warnings for murder, death, loss of a loved one, PTSD depiction, grief depiction, blood depiction, and general war themes.

Buddy read with Imi at Imi Reviews Books! ❤

Nyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #2) by Scott Reintgen

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1.) Nyxia ★★★★★

“As the descent begins, I hold on to one truth: I am more than what they would make of me.”

This is such an amazing YA Sci-Fi series that is so beautifully inclusive with some very important themes and discussions. The writing is amazing, I pulled around thirty quotes for this review alone. The characters have completely stolen my heart and soul, and they are a tier above most in all of literature. This series is amazing, and this second installment was everything that I wanted and more.

Nyxia Unleashed follows a crew of kids from all over the world that have been tested extensively during their journey to another planet. A company named Babel gave contracts to kids from needy homes, whether that be love, money, or even health care. Babel picked kids that they believed they could mold and shape into whatever they wanted, but Nyxia Unleashed shows that Babel might have completely underestimated the power of teens. And this book picks right back up after the final events in Nyxia, where they have landed on a brand new planet, Magnia.

“They made us into weapons. It will be their downfall.”

This series also has the best main protagonist in YA, I swear it. Emmett is a black boy from Detroit, who joined this space program because it was the only way his mother could get the medical treatment she needed. He constantly is filing stuff away mentally with a system his grandma taught him, and he is never embarrassed or shamed for showing emotion. Music also plays a big role in Emmett’s life, and it’s displayed so very beautifully. Emmett is just an amazing main character, and one that I’ve been searching for

Morning is my new favorite character of all-time, I swear. She is so strong, so powerful, so amazing of a leader. She’s a Latinx girl from Cali who has completely stolen my heart. She (and her doors) blew me away. Like, the fight scenes with Morning are legit some of the best fight scenes I’ve ever read in YA. And seeing her be so hard, and so soft, and so everything in between, is something I don’t even have words for.

And the romance in this book? Lord, I can’t. So perfect, so pure, so everything. It makes me want to scream “OTP forever” at the top of my lungs, off the rooftops. And the moments that these two share, whether its fighting back to back, comforting each other over past pain, or just cuddling and being there for one another. I love it all, and I ship Emmett and Morning so hard, it’s unreal.

Magnia is a planet that has two moons and, depending on the years, the planet changes not only names (Magnia and Glacius) but natural disasters and weather. The kids that landed are supposed to be mining Nyxia, a new super resource and is a substance that can create anything, and Babel has created a treaty with the indigenous people on Magnia, the Imago. Basically, their planet is slowly dying from lack of females, so they promise to allow these kids to mine so that they can instill hope back to a planet that no longer has children. Well, at least that’s what Babel is saying, and Magnia is agreeing to.

“It doesn’t surprise me that Babel’s out here playing the role of colonizer, slapping labels on the originals and pretending they created it all in the first place. It’s pretty standard procedure for folks like them.”

This book heavily talks about colonization, and how disgusting people can be, while also taking everything from natives of the land they are about to steal. Babel even made up a name to call the Imago people, which the crew doesn’t even realize until they get to know the indigenous people. And these kids all see, first hand, what this new planet and its inhabitants are like, and it’s not so much different than any of them. And the crew also see how Babel has something much larger than anyone else expect in store.

This story also puts a heavy emphasis on social hierarchy and systemic oppression and what that means for the individuals that the world will deem as lesser. How some people are just born into the right last name, with the right money, with the right looks, and with all the privileges that these things give.

“Is this how people talked about me when I lived in Detroit? Am I like the beggars? Don’t give me too much of a handout or I’ll be encouraged, I think darkly.”

But Nyxia is just such a gift of a series to the literary world. That crew I kept talking about above? I already said that Emmett is black, and Morning is Latinx, but the rest of the crew? So much beautiful diversity. This crew has queer (gay and/or bi) side characters, side characters wearing hijabs, a pregnant teen crew member, Asian crew members, and so much of the characters talking about their experiences outside of The United States. So many of these characters are all dealing with grief, trauma, PTSD, and abandonment. This book is on another level, I’m telling you all.

Trigger and content warnings for murder, death, gore, blood, violence, depiction of PTSD, abandonment, kidnapping, torture, animal death, talk of past outing, talk of past homophobia, genocide, colonization, loss of a loved one, loss of a friend, and war themes.

My favorite aspect of this book was the constant spotlight on found family and unconditional love, trust, and support. These kids, from all different backgrounds, upbringings, ethnicities, religions, come together and create this bond that is so believable and so amazing to read. Like, this book just feels so real, that I’m wondering if there is an organization like Babel out there and if these kids came together and (hopefully) really saved a world!

“I sit there long after she falls asleep, thinking about the family we’ve forged, not through blood, but through steel and chaos. I never asked for any of this. At the beginning, I fought hard against it. But now that they’re mine, now that I’m theirs, I’d do anything to keep them from being taken.”

Overall, I loved this. The wait for the third book is going to be so hard, but this second installment was everything I wanted and more. I mean, Scott Reintgen still ripped out my heart, but in the best way possible. This is easily my favorite YA Sci-Fi out there, and I hope you all give this series a try, because it’s so worth it.

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Buddy read with Lilly, Cierra, Scrill, Solly, & Lori! ❤

You guys, I never win anything, but I actually won an ARC of this on a Twitter giveaway from Scott Reintgen himself!